Gordon Brown today dismissed opposition calls for a Government investigation into claims that policy decisions were swayed by lobbying from former Cabinet ministers.
The Prime Minister accepted assurances from the permanent secretaries of three Whitehall departments that there had been "no improper influence" on ministerial decisions.
But Conservatives denounced the decision as "outrageous", and Tory chairman Eric Pickles said there increasingly appeared to be "a cover-up at the heart of Government".
Channel 4's Dispatches was this evening broadcasting footage of a "sting" operation in which a number of MPs, including former ministers Stephen Byers, Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon, were secretly filmed in discussion with an undercover reporter posing as the representative of a fictitious US lobbying firm.
Mr Byers, describing himself as a "cab for hire", apparently requested £5,000 a day and boasted he had previously secured secret deals with ministers over a rail franchise contract and food labelling on behalf of private companies.'